Parents Organize Across State Against Class Size Mandate

Dec 6, 2017
Originally published on December 7, 2017 4:05 pm

Wake County parents have been very active in fighting a class-size law they say will hurt student learning. They've even come up with a hashtag that has gained some traction.

Now, two Triangle-based groups want to bring parents from other parts of the state into the fold. They are hosting a webinar Thursday night about the state-mandated reductions to class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, and how parents can advocate against them.

“Some of the representatives...that are representing the rural areas feel like this isn't an issue in their areas, but we feel like it really is,” said Julie von Haefen, a board member of the North Carolina Parent Teacher Association, one of two groups hosting the webinar.

School officials across the state are looking to possibly cut art and music classes or pre-kindergarten programs to come up with the money and space to comply with the law. It requires school districts to reduce K-3 class sizes from approximately 21 to 17 students per class by next fall, but doesn’t offer any financial support for doing so.

“Small class sizes are great, if you fund them,” said Lynn Edmonds, community outreach coordinator for Public Schools First NC, a webinar co-host. “[School districts] need funding for the physical space, to meet the mandate. We need funding for the additional teachers, to meet the mandate.”

Critics are hoping legislators will come up with a fix during their session in January. But it remains unclear if they will address the issue.

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